Fireworks

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Existence - 'Live In Montreal' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/b1/83/f0/existence-live-in-montreal-17-1464463885.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     May 28, 2016    
 
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I can't really say this album blew me away but I did find a few things to like.

Not to be confused with the German Power Metal band, the New Jersey Melodic Deathcore troupe or the French Metallers of the same name, this Existence are a five-piece Neo-Prog band from Quebec, about whom I know very little.

Internet details are also very sketchy, but I can glean that they're led by their only constant member Alan Charles (vocals, piano, guitar) and have been on hiatus since the release of their third full album 'Small People, Short Story, Little Crime' way back in 1999. To further confuse matters, this live album comes from a show that same year which was recently found on a mini-disc recorded by their sound engineer; at this point I'm not sure if it heralds new activity by the band or if it's just a posthumous release for their fans.

The good news is that this album sounds pretty good for its origins, with consummate performances from drummer Gerard Leveque, bassist Eric Martin, guitarist Gaston Gagnon and Charles himself on piano and understated vocals, although long periods of over half of these tracks are instrumental. Existence are mostly laid-back and every nuance of their atmospheric music can be clearly made out, from the technical precision of the rhythm section to every one of Gagnon's Dave Gilmour-esque picked notes and ringing chords, but the star of the show is violinist Francois Beaugard, whose every note is dripping with passion and skill.

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Unfortunately some of their tunes are a bit uneventful, particularly opener 'No Hero' with its ill-fitting lyrics and the following discordant pseudo-instrumental 'The Journey', which actually has vocal sounds but no proper words. Much better are 'Rebirth' with its mid-song change of pace and the fifteen minute 'The Last Battle' which has the best vocals and sublime guitar and violin solos. The bass led 'Business As Usual' is a bit chunkier and 'Another Fine Day Of...' even has a guitar riff before settling back into a great mellow groove with smooth musicianship. Most of the twenty minute epic 'In The Kingdom Of Madness' is pretty neat too, particularly the stereo effects, although the bizarre avant-garde mid-section did lose me for a couple of minutes.

I can't really say this album blew me away but I did find a few things to like, and as the band are obviously passionate about what they do/did, all I can do is wish them well.

Phil Ashcroft

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